Quarterfinal. Game 1. CSKA – Baskonia

CSKA - BaskoniaBaskonia will try to steal home court advantage in Moscow, but this is very tough task for them. 

In regular season we have seen 2 different games. The first one in Moscow was high-scoring and fast-paced (160 attacks) game, another on in Vittoria low scoring defensive minded and medium-paced (147 attacks). Pace is very important factor here for total outcome. Because, if both teams will show their real defensive level and game pace will drop under 150 possessions we might see 158-169 range here easily. And seems that bookies expect this scenario.

Anonther interesting story here is how those games have developed. In Moscow Baskonia took 20-8 lead at the start, but then collapsed, when CSKA started to score in every possession. After first quarter it was one-way traffic on the field.. But that was regular season away game for Baskonia.. And Andrea Bargnani yet have played for them.. Without him they are much better team defensively and offensively, especially when Shengelia is healthy and that game was first for him after return from injury. In Spain it was close game for 40 minutes, but Baskonia managed to survive and won 79:78 in the end.

In-depth total stats

Home avg. pace: 151 attacks (+)
Home avg. scoring: 1,10-1,16 pts/attack

Away average pace: 150 attacks (+)
Away avg. scoring: 1,05-1,17 pts/attack

Expected pace: 155 attacks
Expected total range: 166-180 points

I think that Baskonia has chances to win in Moscow, but those chances are very slim. They are still far from being a top team due the lack of high-quality players. Sooner or later CSKA should make their killing run at home and that should be enought to take a lead in the series. But I am not sure about -11.5 spread. If it would be -14 I would take Baskonia, but -11.5 looks more or less fair.

I expect CSKA to score 88-94 and guests should score 78-84 points. As I said we should monitor games pace closely here. Value is on over, but if pace will be slow we might try under in case of high scoring first half.

Prediction: CSKA 91 – 78 Baskonia

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